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Pearl Harbor attack survivor remembers the day from afar

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Retired U. S. Navy Cmdr Don Long was alone on an anchored military seaplane in the middle of a bay across the island from Pearl Harbor when Japanese warplanes started striking Hawaii on December 7,1941, watching from afar as the bombs and bullets killed and wounded thousands. The waves
Retired U. S. Navy Cmdr Don Long was alone on an anchored military seaplane in the middle of a bay across the island from Pearl Harbor when Japanese warplanes started striking Hawaii on December 7,1941, watching from afar as the bombs and bullets killed and wounded thousands.
The waves of attacking planes reached his military installation on Kaneohe Bay soon after Pearl Harbor was struck, and the young sailor saw buildings and planes start to explode all around him.
When the gunfire finally reached him, setting the aircraft ablaze, he jumped into the water and found himself swimming through fire to safety.
Now 97, Long will remember the 77th anniversary of the attack from his home in Napa, California.
He shared some of his memories this week with The Associated Press:
DECADES OF ANNIVERSARIES
Long was fresh out of boot camp when he arrived in Hawaii in 1941.
« I got off that ship with my sea bag over my shoulder and we threw it on a truck and they carted me over to Kaneohe from Pearl Harbor where we had landed, » Long recalled.
It was a different experience when he flew to Hawaii for the 75th anniversary in 2016, a trip that was paid for by a survivor’s group.
« We came in on a first class United chartered jet. All the girls with the leis were there with the Hawaiian music, » he remembered. « We ended up not in a bunk in the barracks, but in a very nice ocean room at the Hawaiian Hilton. »
He attended a dinner where survivors were seated at random with dignitaries. At his table were Japan’s Honolulu-based consul general and his wife.
« He and his wife were there in full regalia, » Long said. He asked if they might be able to help him identify the pilot who attacked his plane 77 years ago.
« They did some searching I guess, or told somebody to do it, but within a month or so I got a message from them and the proof is not positive but they sent the information on three Japanese pilots.

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